November 8, 2010

Today's challenge

Hello everyone!

Today I will post a few studies that I solved yesterday and found them interesting. They are from the book: "DE PION", by Hans Bohm and Yochanan Afek. It's a very nice book, with a lot of exercises. Some of them are so beautiful that I really enjoy my time solving them. Although...sometimes I get frustrated because I don't find the idea and than I get stuck. But when you see it, even after a long thought, the feeling you get is really great! So don't cheat with a machine! I won the book by solving the daily study by Yochanan Afek, in the previous edition of Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee. Looking forward to win another book this year:)

Here are the positions:

Black to move
White to move
White to move
White to move


  1. My take is that the first one is really a simple promotion game combo. I'am going to risk not even setting it up. 1. ... Rxb2 2. Nxb2 c3 3. Nd3 c4+ 4. Rxb6 cxd3 should win easy.
    I am disqualified from solving number 2, since it was shown to us by fm S. Barbeau during a class on chess studies organised by my club. Hence, I think that I am also disqualified for number 3 which is a variation on the same theme.
    Number 4 was really nice. I found the mating idea fairly quickly to my own surprise (took just a little time to figure out that the promotion must happen on move 2). With the black night arriving in the game at f3, I got confused as I didn't see the Zugzwang (for one or two evenings). Now it seems obvious! I think there is a famous quote, that once something has been discovered it seems obvious. I totally get it now. So 1. Nf7 + Kh7 2. e8=N (threatening mate on f6 or f8 depending on which knight moves as well as an immediate mate by Neg5: the ingredients of Zugzwang.) 2. ...e1=N+ 3. Kb3 a1=N= 4. Ka2 Nf3 (else mate on g5) 5. Kxa1 (here we have the astonishing situation that 3 white knights threaten mate on 3 different squares guarded b 3 black knights since the arrival of the f3 knight. If either moves, it is mate, hence the final 2 moves complete the solution after which one of three mates can happen) 5. ...a2 6. Kxa2.
    If I may do a couple of aesthetic comments.
    Number 1 was really easy and doesn't fully qualify as a study in my sense.
    I had not managed to solve number 2 in the class (with just about 10-15 minutes working as a pair, we didn't even come close) It's an amusing construction, but I find it a bit laborious. The same applied for number 3
    I very much liked number 4. I have faible for under-promotions and knight mates anyway.
    Looking ahead to Afek's study, it seams some white man should pass through e4 (e2-e4-e5 maybe later Re4) but I expected lots of false leads from this great modern study composer and can't seem at first sight to make much sense of the position. I might work on another one first (chess cafe's) to clear my mind. Sorry to be so verbose today! Thanks for the posts.

  2. What if, in the first position, after:
    1...Rb2 2. Nb2 c3 White goes 3.Rb5 instead of 3.Nd3?:)
    The fourth one is correct, I also liked it very much!

  3. Hello,

    If the question is about3.Rxb6: Oops, I didn't look at it at all. Good news is I am lucky and 3..c4 does the trick (only got it moving the pieces after running out of alternatives). I guess this sort of laziness in mental calculation of variation explains my OTB level of only 2100. Thanks for the lesson! I might try using a timer to calculate for increasingly long periods without moving the pieces.

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